we take a look at what happens when you sell property in India. We will only look at properties purchased by a person either before or after he becomes an NRI.
Can an NRI sell property in India?
Yes, an NRI can sell residential or commercial property in India.
He can sell to: - A person resident in India (the definition of resident in this case will be as per FEMA)
- An NRI
- A Person of Indian Origin (PIO)
However, an NRI can sell agricultural or plantation land or a farm house only to a person who is resident in India and a citizen.
In which account must the sales proceeds be credited?
There are two scenarios that may arise here:
1. Sale of property purchased as a resident Indian
The sale proceeds in such cases would have to be credited in the Non Resident Ordinary (NRO) Account.
2. Sale of property purchased as a non-resident Indian
If the property was purchased out of rupee resources, that is, income earned in rupees, or the home loan is repaid by a relative who is a resident of India, the amount must be credited in the NRO account.
In all other cases, there are limits to repatriation that are discussed in the next question.
What are the rules for repatriation of sale proceeds of property sold in India?
If the property was purchased while you were a resident of India, then the sale proceeds must be credited to the NRO account. You can repatriate up to USD 1 million per calendar year from your NRO Account (including all other capital transactions), provided you have paid all taxes due.
Now, if the property was purchased while you were a non-resident, you can repatriate the proceeds outside India provided that you fulfill certain conditions:
1. You should have purchased the property in accordance with the foreign exchange laws prevalent at the time you bought the property
2. The amount to be repatriated will follow these limits:
a. If you purchased by remitting foreign exchange to India through normal banking channels, then the repatriation cannot exceed the amount that you remitted
b. If you purchased using funds in the Foreign Currency Non Resident (FCNR) Account, then the repatriation cannot exceed the amount paid through this account
c. If you purchased using funds lying in your Non Resident External (NRE) Account, then the repatriation cannot exceed the foreign exchange equivalent, as on date of purchase, of the amount paid through NRE Account.
d. If you purchased a property by taking a home loan, then repatriation cannot exceed the amount of loan repayment that has been done using foreign inward remittances or debit to NRE/ FCNR Accounts.
e. If you purchased the property using balance in your NRO account, then the sale proceeds must be credited to your NRO account and you can repatriate to the extent of USD 1 million (including all other capital account transactions.)
In all these cases, the balance sale proceeds can be credited to the NRO account and you will be able to repatriate up to USD 1 million per calendar year (including all other capital account transactions).
Vikas Vasal, Executive Director of KPMG India explains, "This limit of USD 1 million is the limit upto which you can repatriate without any permission from RBI. If you have a genuine need to repatriate above this limit, you can make a specific application to RBI for increasing the repatriation limit."
In all cases, repatriation is restricted to sale of two residential properties.
Source: 25. Aug. 2011, ET.